What Is Nori and What Does It Taste Like?

You know that thing when you’re in the ocean and something brushes against your leg, sending a chill down your spine, and you run screaming back to your blanket because you’re absolutely certain it was a monster? There’s a 95% chance that it was seaweed. And today, we’ll learn to love it.

What is nori? Is nori seaweed, really?

Nori is seaweed, specifically a red algae called pyropia. Most nori is farmed in the Pacific off the coasts of Japan and China, so it’s not the same kind that’s freaking you out down in Pensacola, Florida. 

What is a nori sheet?

The production of nori mimics traditional paper production and a nori sheet is a lot like a sheet of paper—just tastier. The seaweed is dried out, pulped, and then reconstituted into sheets. The sheets are dried again and sometimes roasted. The end result: paper-thin, dark green, crunchy squares. 

How to eat nori?

The most common use for nori is in sushi, where it is used to encase rice and other ingredients in a roll. It’s become a popular health food, as well. Packaged on its own, it is marketed as a healthy snacking option and rightfully so; it is crammed with Vitamin A, C, B9, and riboflavin. 

What does the name nori mean?

The literal name translates to “ocean moss.” However, the term nori is so synonymous with dried seaweed, that it also means just that.

What does nori taste like?

As expected from most things that come out of the sea, it’s salty. But it doesn’t have the fishiness of most seafood and it is tinged with sweetness, so even if you don’t really do fish, you might like nori. Many commercial nori brands will add flavors as well, things like sea salt, teriyaki, green tea, and even chili.

What is shredded nori?

There is a version of nori that comes shredded as opposed to in large sheets. This is called kizami nori and it is often used in soups or as a topping for hot dishes and salads. Sporked’s Justine Sterling recommends it as a garnish for Trader Joe’s Sesame Crunch Chopped Salad kit and I agree. It’s really good.

Is nori vegan? Is nori vegetarian?

It is difficult for me to think of something that is more vegan than nori. However, there are some people on the internet who claim nori is grown on the shells of oysters or mussels, which counts as animal exploitation. I have a lot of respect for the convictions of vegans but…come on now. 

Is nori gluten free?

And as for gluten, follow the golden rule: Check the label. Unflavored nori is most likely fine, but watch out for added soy products.

Does nori go bad?

According to nori producer Mikuniya, nori lasts about six months in the fridge, ten months in the freezer, and two to three weeks in a cool, dry place. They also advise trying to get as much air out of a package of nori as possible before resealing it. Nori absorbs moisture and will get soggy quickly. So seal those sheets up tight!

About the Author

Luke Field

Luke Field is a writer and actor originally from Philadelphia. He was the former Head Writer of branded content at CollegeHumor and was also a contributing writer and actor to the CollegeHumor Originals cast. He has extensive improv and sketch stage experience, performing both at The Upright Citizens Brigade Theater and with their Touring Company. In addition to writing, he also works as a Story Producer, most recently on season 4 of Accident, Suicide, or Murder on Oxygen. Keep your eyes peeled for his brief but impactful appearance as Kevin, the screaming security guard, in the upcoming feature The Disruptors, directed by Adam Frucci.

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